I’ve heard it suggested that marriage is the only place you can attain full intimacy with God. It seems that because Christian covenant marriage is the concession for full, and hopefully safe, expression of one’s sexuality, it is synonymously the epitome of intimacy.
However, I do not believe this is true.
Let me try to explain to you more of what I mean by looking at the life of David. David’s intimacy with God evidences that marriage isn’t necessary to achieve complete intimacy with God. For David, the promises God fulfilled in his lifetime were that He would give:
- David a great name (2 Sam. 7:9b)
- Israel a secure place with wicked oppressors (2 Sam. 7:10)
- David rest from all his enemies (2 Sam. 7:11)
David’s intimacy with God was dependent on God alone, not on David’s relationship with anyone else.
David’s intimacy with God was dependent on God alone, not on David’s relationship with anyone else. In today’s day and age, we tend to attribute the solution to our relationship angst (ie. not being known, wanting to do life with someone, sexual desire, longing for true intimacy) into getting married. There’s an unspoken, suggested answer that marriage will fix these problems, when this is clearly not what the Bible is suggesting.
Unfortunately, this perception is what permeates the thinking of so many young people. We often use the covenant marriage relationship as the example for what intimacy with God looks like — being fully known in all of our vulnerabilities.
There is, of course, a paradox in all of this because God ordained marriage in perfection by suggesting that it wasn’t good for man to be alone (Genesis 2:18). The question then becomes this: Was God suggesting that man cannot find intimacy with Him as long as man is single? If this was the case, then surely Christ in all of His humanity should have married. Or is He suggesting that being alone isn’t a lack of intimacy with God but rather, a lack of intimacy with another?
David was a man after God’s own heart and even though he made bad choices, (which ironically involved sex on occasion), he was still, as an individual, the recipient of an extremely intimate relationship with God. His life proves that intimacy with God doesn’t come through marriage, but from a life of faith that results in obedience to God. David starts off living in full obedience and openness to what God speaks through the prophet Samuel. However, later in David’s life, he turns away because of a lack of faith, obedience and therefore, a lack of intimacy with God.
It is by having intimacy with God that His kingdom is made greater. This happens with God but plays itself out in all relationships and experiences that we are a part of. As much as marriage is a God ordained covenant, it can be warped into a set of human ideals to achieve something it was never meant to offer on its own. Without true intimacy with Jesus, things will not ever be brought into their full potential – even a marriage. We have to be careful to present intimacy with God in a way that all people can experience, regardless of their relationship status.